Make Your Own Homemade Anchor
How to Make Your Own Anchor
Boats anchors can be expensive. I've seen more than one recommendation that you carry more than one boat anchor. That makes boat anchors twice as expensive. For your main anchor, I definitely recommend you have a real, store-bought anchor. As a secondary anchor though, or just as a fun project, you can make a boat anchor for yourself.
This boat anchor would be only for a smaller boat, under 20 feet.
A quick trip to your local big-box hardware store and $11 is all you need. Prices may vary in your area, but that should give you an idea. Don't worry about not having any experience with this kind of thing. Anyone can follow these plans. This is a very easy project, so don't worry about it being too complicated.
The first thing you need to do is gather up everything you'll need to follow these instructions. I have laid out several checklists below to show you exactly what's required to make this anchor. Make sure you have all the materials and supplies before you begin.
Supplies You Will Need From the Store:
- 2 (3 1/2+ inch) bolts
- 2 washers to fit the bolts
- 2 nuts to fit the bolts
- 1 eye bolt
- 1 washer to fit the eye bolt
- 2 nuts to fit the eye bolt
- 1 five-gallon bucket
- 1 bag of concrete mix
My total came to $7.47 because I already had a bucket. You also don't specifically need a 5 gallon bucket. You can use anything that will hold the concrete. Keep in mind you will be storing it on your boat though, so you will want something smooth that won't scratch up the interior. You may also want to add extra bolts depending on the shape or size of your container. Try to get all galvanized nuts, bolts, and washers. This will make it stand up to saltwater better.
Supplies You Will Need From Home
- Bathroom scale
You'll be using the stick to stir the concrete with. You can use anything to stir with, just make sure it's sturdy enough to stand up to thick concrete mix. The bathroom scale is going to be how you weigh your anchor.
Supplies You Might Find Helpful
- Duct tape
None of this is necessary at all. It will just make things slightly easier. If you don't have these, don't worry. Just plan for a few extra minutes.
Preparing the Bucket Anchor: Getting Started
Your first step should be drilling two holes in the side of the bucket, below the halfway mark. Make sure you choose a drill bit to match your bolts. If you don't have a match, use the closest to it (but smaller). You can carefully wear around your hole to make it the right size. Put your two bolts, washers, and nuts in these two holes.
Next you will pour in the concrete mix. You will want to use at least two pounds per foot of boat length. This doesn't have to be precise. Your water will add some weight, and you can always add a little more. After you've added your mix, follow the directions on the bag to add the appropriate amount of water. Adding too much water weakens concrete, so add a little bit at the time. Stir the concrete and water together until it is mixed completely. Be sure to check along the sides and bottom to make sure all of your concrete is mixed with water. Your bolts will get in the way of easy mixing, so make sure the concrete beneath them gets mixed up. Once you think it's stirred up well enough, lift your bucket and drop it a few inches several times. If you see water bubbles popping up, the mix needs to be stirred more.
Once you are done mixing, weigh your bucket. If your scale won't register the bucket, grab the bucket and step on the bathroom scale yourself. Subtract your own weight, and you have your bucket anchor's weight. Add more concrete mix and water as needed. Make sure not to add too much water. Once you are happy, take one of the nuts for your eye bolt and screw it as far up as it will go. Next add the washer, and then the other nut. The second nut should be near the bottom, but up a little. Push the eye bolt into your concrete mix now, in the middle of the bucket, until just the eye is above the surface or until the eye bolt hits bottom. Your bolt should stand up on its own in the mix. If not, use rope and duct tape (or something similar) to make sure it stays straight, and above the surface of the concrete.
Let your concrete sit for 24 hours (or walking strength if you used quick setting concrete). You're almost here, just one final step. There may be some extra bucket above your concrete. This will retain water, and make lifting your anchor more difficult than it has to be. You have two options here. If you have access, or know someone that does, to a sawzall, you can cut part of the top away. If you don't have access to a sawzall, take your largest drill bit and make a row or two of holes above the concrete line. Don't make the rows too close together, as this could make your bucket start to crack. The holes will help the water flow out of your anchor as you lift so you don't break your back pulling it out of the water. It also makes the anchor spin as it fills with water and sinks. Pretty cool.
My Experience With the Homemade Anchor Bucket
This project took me about an hour and a half. I was able to use this anchor 24 hours after I made it. For my 17 foot 4 inch Mako Skiff, it weighs in at 35 pounds. I have a friend with a sawzall that will be cutting away the top part of my bucket, but for now I have drilled a row of holes in it. It lifts very easily out of the water. On a calm day at the lake, this anchor worked great. We pulled into a little cove, dropped the anchor down, and the boat never budged. Three of us jumped out, swam around, got back in, and it still hadn't moved. Later we left one person in the boat and dropped anchor. A bigger boat came by, and the wake pushed the boat and anchor probably 10 feet. I had no slack in the line, so that likely added to the problem.
Final Notes on Making Your Own Anchor
Don't use this as your main or only anchor. This is purely a secondary anchor, or something for a calm day on the water where you won't be too far from your boat.
Feel free to improve on these plans. You could add heavy objects into the concrete mix, design some kind of spikes or tines to stick out of the bucket, or a million other things. I want to keep these instructions simple so that anyone can do it regardless of experience level. If you do improvise, please leave some notes in the comments. I'd love to improve the design, as well as share ideas for everyone to see.